My Year In The Middle Reading Guide

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Lu Oliveria is a sixth grade Argentinian immigrant that doesn’t want to take sides. It is Spring of 1970 and racial disputes are diving her small Alabama town. Lu wants to focus on her friends, her grades, and running track, but as staying neutral becomes more challenging, Lu has to decide if she will stand up for what she knows is right.
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Excerpted from

My Year In The Middle
My Year In The Middle
Lila Quintero Weaver

Sixth-grader Lu Olivera just wants to keep her head down and get along with everyone in her class. Trouble is, Lu’s old friends have been changing lately — acting boy crazy and making snide remarks about Lu’s newfound talent for running track. Lu’s secret hope for a new friend is fellow runner Belinda Gresham, but in 1970 Red Grove, Alabama, blacks and whites don’t mix. As segregationist ex-governor George Wallace ramps up his campaign against the current governor, Albert Brewer, growing tensions in the state — and in the classroom — mean that Lu can’t stay neutral about the racial divide at school. Will she find the gumption to stand up for what’s right and to choose friends who do the same?

In a racially polarized classroom in 1970 Alabama, Lu’s talent for running track makes her a new best friend — and tests her mettle as she navigates the school’s social cliques.

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